A place for everything, and everything in its place. That’s how the saying goes, so why is it so hard to find your garden tools when you need them?
Since we generally spend less time in our home’s outdoor spaces, we often invest fewer hours into organizing these areas.
Since we generally spend less time in our home’s outdoor spaces, we often invest fewer hours into organizing these areas. To top it off, outdoor storage is often smaller than we need given the size of the tools and supplies we use to maintain our yard.
The following tips and suggestions offer simple solutions to help solve these problems. Learn how to maximize the space you have while considering what else you might need.
But first, start with the right shed.
Many homeowners try to fit everything that doesn’t belong inside the house into the family garage. Unfortunately, after you subtract the square footage needed to store your vehicle and possibly a few bikes, there’s usually not much left for tools and supplies.
Adding a yard or garden shed will extend your outdoor storage space, providing what you need to keep tools safe and dry. It will also make organization easier. To learn more about choosing the right size, materials and style of shed, read How to Choose the Best Garden Shed.
If you already have a shed or ample storage space in your garage, read on!
1. Aim for a mix of full height and shelving storage.
Once you have your shed or storage space set up, add variable height shelving to a portion of the space. This will give you flexibility over the years as your storage needs change. Additionally, preserve a full-height area for storing larger tools, preferably mounted against a wall (see below).
2. Mount garden hoses on saddles or hooks.
Say goodbye to the tangle of hoses and cords that can trip you up when stored on the floor. Use hooks or saddle brackets to hang garden hoses–either inside or outside. Return them to their place after each use.
3. Hang up long-handled tools
Getting items up and off the floor provides more usable space in any area. It also makes them easier to find, particularly if they’re hung at eye level. Long handled tools are great candidates for hanging, because they’re forever falling over. Mount tool clips or brackets onto the wall, storing tools within easy reach.
4. Use the backs of shed doors.
Whether your shed has double or single doors, there’s usually prime space for hanging tools or mounting shallow, pocket shelves that can house smaller items. Reserve this space for frequently used, lighter items. These tools are easy to find as soon as you open the shed.
5. Store wheelbarrows upright.
Bulky and cumbersome, wheelbarrows often take up a good portion of any utility shed. Fashion a simple mount using 2’ x 4’ lumber to keep your wheelbarrow upright, or simply tip up against the shed wall to free up floor space and access to your tools and supplies. There are even hooks on the market specifically designed for hanging your wheelbarrow up and out of the way.
6. Store smaller items in jars.
I don’t know about you, but for too many years we had bags full of nails, screws and bolts all mixed up hodge-podge in the bottom of a few plastic totes. Was it easy to find what we were looking for? Almost never. Eventually we grew wiser and started storing these items on shelves in labeled glass jars. Now whenever we have a garden project (fencing anyone?), we can find what we need without rummaging.
7. Add magnetic strips.
Small metal hand tools like chisels, trowels and seeders can be easily stored on the sort of magnetic strips used for kitchen knives. This also works for flat tools like the Hori Hori.
8. Sort hand tools and amendments into tubs.
For larger, bulkier hand tools and bags of soil amendments, sort into labeled tubs. Depending on the number you have, place those used most frequently at mid-level, or towards the top and front of your stack. If vermin are a problem in your area, be sure to store fertilizers in sealed containers. Tall, metal garbage cans are one good option, as rats will gnaw through plastic, even if it’s heavy duty.
9. Use loft space.
If your shed has a gable roof and enough height above head level, consider adding a shelf where the wall studs meet the rafters. This could span half or more of the shed, making space for lesser used items. You can also suspend ladders horizontally on hooks from the bottom of the loft, depending on how frequently you use them.
10. Add a potting bench.
What gardener doesn’t love a potting bench? Having one in your shed adds built-in storage and makes sowing seeds easy. There’s always a place for extra seeds, out-of-season pots, and more. If you like to mix your own seed starting medium, choose a potting bench with a removable “sink” to save your back.
A place for everything, all the time.
Your backyard is the place where you go to unwind. To make the most of your outdoor time, try some of the tips above to maximize space and keep things looking neat and tidy. I’m willing to bet you’d rather spend more time in the garden and less time searching for tools and supplies.
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